A grimy look at the dire conditions of a hospital in Poland over 24 hours. Medical procedures are one of the few things that freak me out and this film absolutely disturbed me at some points. The worst was when one of the doctors was hammering in position the bones of one of the patients and he broke the hammer. Even the strong-willed might find this film a bit too much to watch.
Still, the point is conveyed excellently: the general irritation of the doctors and the constant lack of equipment conveys how inadequately equipped this hospital is. The doctors do their best, help a number of patients, but it’s clear that the conditions are simply unacceptable. A very socially charged film, one I imagine was shown to garner some support to improve the condition of the hospitals in Poland.
From a Night Porter’s Point of View (1979)
There’s something darkly comedic about the no-nonsense narration of the titular night porter. He says action films are his favorite and from there on, he perpetuates a very legalistic, rule-driven lifestyle. It’s hard not to laugh when he shows us one of his hobbies: confiscating fishing poles from individuals who don’t have the proper license to fish or the extreme punishments he believes should be given to offenders of the law.
According to my sources (Annette Isdorf and Kieslowski himself), this is indeed the thoughts and life of a real man. In part, it doesn’t surprise me. It would be hard to make up a character this outspoken and strong-minded as this porter without being ridiculed as a hack storyteller. Not only an interesting character, but the constant narration creates for a compelling telling of a man’s life in an effective way.
Seven Women of Different Ages (1979)
A film over seven days, each day following a different ballet dancer. I love the simplicity of it and how it draws out and evolves ideas wordlessly. You see the drive and ambition grow into performance. But the years march on and give way to the realization that one is not up to the task anymore. This ebbs off into the elder years where one stands by, almost feeling helpless, before accepting one’s places in the world and finds a way to take what one loves and pass it on to another generation.